The Wrong Target

What the media described as a “back to black” budget was greeted in some quarters as though it was a test match victory. Beyond the headline, however, little attempt was made to help the public understand what the budget was all about. For many people, the prospect of “getting back to surplus” was enough to […]

George Osborne’s Non-Event

George Osborne’s budget was driven by an obvious political imperative but was, in economic terms, largely a non-event. The major interest, such as it was, lay in the minor adjustments offered to long-suffering consumers in the forlorn hope that they would be cheered up by cheaper beer and marginal concessions on income tax, and might […]

George Osborne’s Deep Hole

Whatever George Osborne may say on Wednesday in his budget speech, he cannot extricate himself from the wreckage that now surrounds him. He may be just about the last person in Britain to believe that austerity offers a credible path to recovery from recession – and it may be doubted that even he remains a […]

Zero Budget, Zero Ambition

The budget, Bill English tells us, will provide a further step towards a strong long-term economy. That step is certainly needed, since there is precious little evidence of economic strength, long-term or short-term, at present. In recent weeks, we have seen unemployment on the rise again, manufacturing output fall back, retail activity stalling, the trade […]

Rebutting Tina

Much of the comment on (and criticism of) the budget has focused on the impact of the specific measures designed to rein back the government’s deficit. But, as the dust settles, we can see that the budget’s real failing was not in the specifics. Quite simply, it identified the wrong strategic target. A casual observer […]

The Mark-Time Budget

The fact that this week’s budget will do no more than mark time should come as no surprise. We now have getting on for three years’ experience of a government whose idea of managing the economy is simply to wait to see what turns up. Some of what has turned up has not been very […]

A Standard and Poor Budget

We may never know what passed between Standard and Poor’s and our Finance Minister on the eve of the budget. And only time will tell whether the “primary focus” of the budget was – as the Prime Minister claimed – the avoidance of a credit rating downgrade and whether, in the long run, that goal […]

The Country Not The Government Should Be The Budget Priority

Even as they prepare their annual budgets, governments don’t always enjoy the freedom of action they would like. The intervention of outside agencies like the IMF is all too familiar to many governments whose economies have run into the buffers, and even at the best of times New Zealand governments have been content to hand […]